Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Today I went riding with the guys at lunch. One topic of conversation that came up was a blog post about the "company" and its competitor. One sentence caused some mixed emotions amongst the riders - [competitor] "is growing faster, has slightly better gross margins, and most significantly better employee morale." And then if you didn't fully grasp the concept of that sentence it went on to say [company] "work-force with a lot lower employee morale." Having worked as well as riding with existing "company" members there were some mixed views on the previous sentences.

What I found more interesting was reading the comments made by a "competitor" employee and their view of moral. This came with a layoff story as well. Reading the thread there were many similarities to what I had observed and or experienced at the company. Regarding the layoff element, they are never fun or expected by the individual. When it does happen to you it is easy to fall into the trap of negativity. However, if you keep in mind the data associated with the economy today of on the order of 1M laid off and more predicted.

With that background, the topic of layoffs was on my mind. I came across some interesting numbers from Denise Palmieri as well as an assessment of the economy. In her commentary on pe HUB, she mentions several large numbers about the macro economic situation and how it may relate personally. Basically, we are all 1 or 2 degrees away from a layoff. She also talks about a Gen-E sentiment (for entitlement and what they are "entitled to" just for showing up).

I have seen the Gen-E mentality growing. I am not sure where it comes from. Maybe it something that originated from the media and what appears to be an "all about me culture" it seems to cultivate. I tend to believe that there is some karma in the world and that some point everyone get's their just rewards. If you work hard and support the team in the end you will be happier. This can take on a monetary recognition, but it can also be as simple as fostering a good work environment.

What price can you put on that? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Irrational Exuberance

This week was a roller-coaster ride on the lessons to be learned in life (and reviewed often). The last time I had dabbled in the land of start ups was over 10 years ago. At that time, it seemed that Boulder was getting a few, but that they were few and far and between. Of course the Internet at that time did not offer the level of connection possible today. You had to be in the know of someone at one of these "places". If you wanted to be part of a start up you needed to head to Silicon Valley (SV).

Fortunately for me, the trade-off of SV did not beat out the benefits of living on the front range (Den - Ft. Collins). I put my head down and acquiesced to the larger company and its stability. Learning a new craft (product marketing / management) and new techniques for developing software provided enough of a challenge to limit my scope.

Fast forward to today. The Denver-Boulder New Technology Meetup I attended this past Tuesday had an infectious high-energy quality. One would assume that money and opportunity was flowing like the Boulder creek in June. Reading more about various start up opportunities this week perpetuated this thinking in my mind. Start-up opportunity had arrived and it was just around the corner, figuratively speaking of course.

This morning after my usual swimming workout a casual locker room conversation about my perceived state of things met with reality. I entered a conversation with a video entrepreneur and fellow swimmer. We got to talking about the state of business being. He relayed that he was in the process of closing down his office since they were unable to raise an initial round of funding. This was despite of lots of sweat equity, prototypes, and interest from several prominent names.

The locker room is not the place to get into the gory details of why and what have you tried, etc. Suffice to say, it offered some reality to the week's earlier storybook reading. I then met with another gentleman for coffee and a discussion on his start up perspective. He shared some of his past experiences and failures. Listening was a good review of what not to do and what to avoid.

In all, I am optimistic about the state of things here in Colorado. It no longer appears that you have to head to a coast for high quality start up action. At the same time, we are not immune to the realities present with a start up. At the end of the day, you have to have a viable revenue stream and solid business model.

Maybe I have been out of the loop for too long. I think that new opportunities are coming - or have they been here and I have just missed them for the past couple of years?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Initial Post

"And on the Web, if you're not in Google and the blogosphere, you're not in the conversation"
From the Long Tail blog

I tried this a few years ago to document and rail on what I thought was a pitiful situation. I got one meek post out and thought better about the derogatory intents. The site dropped by the wayside and I found other ways to amuse myself and spend the excess energy.

Due to life changing circumstances I find myself with a little bit more time. The more I read/click the more I realize that I have been on the sidelines. You can delude yourself that you are in the conversation, but as the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know.

Fortunately, I have been on a steep learning curve for the past month. I attended the Denver - Boulder New Tech Meetup earlier this week and didn't feel too out of place. Actually, it was refreshing to find a support group for what is becoming a bad habit - new tech.

So, without further delay, I post my first blog and join the conversation. I look forward to future submissions. Suggestions are always welcome.